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Quote: George Eliot - On Positivity



An antidote to despair - Why the world isn't as bad as we imagine


It's hard to escape the news in the modern world we live in. If you are able to avoid the never ending cycles from the major cable news channels like CNN, Fox, and The BBC then you are still bombarded with articles, notifications and emails on a daily basis.


Terrorism... Revolutions... Disease... Crime... The rise of authoritarianism...

What kind of world are we living in? Is it just getting worse and worse?


Instant and uninterrupted access to information from every corner of the world is a result of the unbelievable technological progress we have made over the past few decades. The problem is that this barrage of calamity distorts our perception of the current state of affairs and causes us to paint a bleak outlook of what is to come. More and more often we hear friends, family or colleagues telling us that "I stopped watching the news" or that turning on the TV is "just depressing".


It's easy to understand why the information is so skewed towards the negative. We just don't find the good news as interesting or entertaining as the bad. However, correcting this negative perception balance is important - in order to ensure that we are not short selling the incredible progress that people around the world are continuously managing to achieve.

That is the inspiration we have taken from today's quote. It will never "rain roses" or, to put it another way, good things will not just happen without trying. Our reading suggestions today are here to help demonstrate that Humanity is in fact planting plenty of roses and that things are getting better.


1. The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined


2. Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future


3. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress


Below are links and descriptions from Amazon on the three books. We hope you enjoy them. Progress doesn't happen by accident, we all have a role to play.


Happy reading!

 

We discovered Steven Pinker thanks to Bill Gates reading blog (which we discuss over here). A truly fascinating author and thinker - Pinker really takes the heart of this topic and lays out the facts to tell the story. The New York Times Book Review selected this title as Notable Book of The Year.


From Amazon:

Faced with the ceaseless stream of news about war, crime, and terrorism, one could easily think we live in the most violent age ever seen. Yet as New York Times bestselling author Steven Pinker shows in this startling and engaging new work, just the opposite is true: violence has been diminishing for millennia and we may be living in the most peaceful time in our species's existence.

Read more here.


 

From Amazon:

A Book of the Year for The Economist and the Observer

It’s all over our televisions, newspapers and the internet. Every day we’re bludgeoned by news of how bad everything is – Brexit, financial collapse, unemployment, poverty, environmental disasters, disease, hunger, war. Indeed, our world now seems to be on the brink of collapse, and yet:

- We’ve made more progress over the last 100 years than in the first 100,000

- 285,000 more people have gained access to safe water every day for the last 25 years

- In the last 50 years world poverty has fallen more than it did in the preceding 500


Read more here.

 

This more recent work from Pinker takes the themes from 'The Better Angels of our Nature' and builds on it further. If you are deciding between the two, go for this one.


From Amazon:

"My new favorite book of all time." --Bill Gates

If you think the world is coming to an end, think again: people are living longer, healthier, freer, and happier lives, and while our problems are formidable, the solutions lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science.


You can grab a copy here.





 

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures over here.

 

Thank you for reading!


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